No. 369 January Term, 1977, Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court of Pennsylvania at No. 238 October Term, 1976 dismissing a New Jersey detainer filed at the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania at Nos. 1264, 1268, 1271, 1274 and 1276 of 1975.
Richard J. Orloski, Asst. Dist. Atty., Allentown, for appellant.
James T. Huber, Allentown, for appellee.
Eagen, C. J., and Roberts, Nix, Manderino and Larsen, JJ. O'Brien, J., and Pomeroy, former J., did not participate in the decision of this case.
Appellee, Manfred Hude, was arrested on drug charges in Lehigh County. He was unable to post bail and was incarcerated awaiting trial. On April 9, 1975, prosecuting authorities from New Jersey filed a detainer against appellee. About three months later on July 3, 1975, appellee filed a petition for habeas corpus as to the detainer contending that the writ should be granted because more than thirty days had elapsed since the detainer was lodged during which period extradition proceedings had not been initiated by the governor of New Jersey. The trial court dismissed appellee's petition. On appeal the Superior Court reversed, granting a writ of habeas corpus and dismissing the detainer lodged by New Jersey prosecutors.
In granting the writ the Superior Court held that the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, Act of July 8, 1941, P.L. 288, §§ 1-31, 19 P.S. §§ 191.1-31 was applicable and it required a dismissal. Commonwealth v. Hude, 242 Pa. Super. 555, 364 A.2d 413 (1976). If that Act is applicable there is no issue before us concerning the propriety of the Superior Court's order and it must be affirmed. A detainer under the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act is valid for only thirty days unless pursuant to certain hearing procedures an extension is granted. No hearing was held in this case to effect an extension.
In granting the prosecution's petition for allowance of appeal we limited the appeal to a consideration of two issues. One issue involves the prosecution's standing to prosecute this appeal. The other issue which will be discussed first is whether the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act is applicable to the matter before us or whether, as the prosecution contends, the applicable law is the interstate Agreement on Detainers. Act of September 8, 1959, P.L. 829, No. 324, § 1, 19 P.S. §§ 1431-38. The Uniform Criminal Extradition Act and the Agreement on Detainers are two separate acts both of which have been adopted in Pennsylvania.
Under the Extradition Act a detainer must be dismissed if extradition proceedings are not commenced within the required time period. Commonwealth ex rel. Knowles v. Lester, 456 Pa. 423, 321 A.2d 637 (1974) (writ of habeas corpus granted at the request of defendant who was unable to make bail and was incarcerated awaiting trial when more than thirty days elapsed after an out-of-state detainer was lodged and no extradition proceedings were commenced during the required time.)
The prosecution does not attempt to distinguish Knowles which involved a situation exactly the same as the one before us but rather contends that the Agreement on Detainers essentially overlaps the Extradition Act and that out-of-state authorities may proceed under the Agreement on Detainers which Act does not specify any time limits for the validity of the detainer lodged.
We reject as other courts have done the prosecution's contention. The appellee in this case was incarcerated awaiting trial and not under an imposed sentence of imprisonment following a conviction. Under these ...